…To balance investors’ interests with obligations
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has said that Nigeria would negotiate future international investment agreements using a set of parameters that would ensure a balance between investors’ interests and the developmental objectives of the country.
The Executive Secretary/CEO, Ms Yewande Sadiku made this remark as lead speaker at the Symposium on International Investment Law and Practice in Honour of Late Professor Michael Ayo Ajomo which was held at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), University of Lagos.
In her presentation titled ‘Contemporary trends in Investment Law and Policy – Lessons for Nigeria’, she observed , “it is true that Nigeria has challenges, but when we are going into a negotiation that is not the toga that we wear, the toga that we wear is the toga of a country that is the 26th largest economy in the world and is estimated by 2050 to be the 14th largest; the toga of a country that is the 7th most populous country in the world and is estimated that by 2050 would become the 3rd most populous country.”
She further stated “in many parts of Europe and in the West the median age of the population is north of 45 years while the median age in Nigeria is 18.4 years. The difference between young people and old people is that they are mobile.” adding “that young people are mobile physically and they are also familiar with mobile devices. In Nigeria and many parts of Africa, we have populations that are much younger and it is important to recognise that this youth translates to energy, translates to market; I think, that is the first rule for me, in the context of negotiation.”
Also at the Symposium, a book was unveiled titled – “Law of International Investment: Essays in Honour of Professor Michael Ayo Ajomo.” The book was reviewed by Professor Yinka Omorogbe, Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Edo State. In her review, she said that the book is a collection of twelve chapters dealing with topical issues in international investment law and practice. She also said that the strategic choice of chapter topics captured contemporary investment issues and that the simplicity of the writing style and clear presentation of ideas by all chapter contributors made reading and understanding of issues discussed in the book easy for stakeholders such as foreign investors, policy makers, legal practitioners, academics and research students.
Chief Robert Clarke SAN in presenting the book said that the book deserves accolades. He stated that the country’s economy was in need of foreign investments noting the impact foreign investments had on the development of countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.According to him, the contributors put together their thoughts that would aid foreign investors in understanding Nigeria’s investment laws and policies, investment incentives, taxation and dispute resolution mechanisms.
Professor Ajomo was Nigeria’s foremost international investment lawyer and an icon of the legal profession. The symposium which was organised in his honour to mark his 90th birthday postmortem brought together major stakeholders including policymakers, members of academia and industry players in the international investment sector.
Other discussants at the symposium were Professor Jonathan Aremu, Mr George Etomi FNIALS, and Professor Paul Idornigie SAN, FCIArb. The symposium was chaired by Professor Ademola Popoola and hosted by Professor Adedeji Adekunle SAN, the Director-General of NIALS. Also present were NIPC’s Director of Policy Advocacy, Mr Reuben Kifasi and Director Strategic Communications, Mr Emeka Offor.
NIPC is Nigeria’s foremost investment promotion agency that was established by Act Nos. 16 of 1995 to encourage, promote and coordinate investments in Nigeria.NIPC also plays an advocacy role on behalf of investors to other arms of government and in the future hopes to play an ombudsman role too, to address investors’ dispute.In 2015, NIPC championed the review of the twenty-nine international investment agreements that Nigeria signed out of which fifteen are in force. Till date, NIPC and its partners have reviewed twenty-one of those agreements.